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September 3, 1987

SIR CLIVE SWITCHES Z88 TO SCI FROM THORN

By CBR Staff Writer

Sir Clive Sinclair was in good form yesterday as he announced major orders and a new manufacturer for his 30oz Z88 computer unveiled at the Which Computer? Show in February (CI No 623). The portable, sold under the Cambridge Computers Ltd banner due to Sir Clive’s sale of the rights to the Sinclair name to Amstrad last year (CI No 408), will, starting later this month, be made by the world’s largest contract manufacturer, SCI Systems Inc, at its Irvine, Scotland plant. Up until now – the mail order phase, according to Sir Clive – the four chip machine has been made by Thorn EMI but SCI, is taking over and, to prove its commitment to the Z88, has taken a stake in Cambridge Computers. Sir Clive’s venture has also won support from the Dixon’s and Comet retail chains both of which have signed multi-million pound distribution agreements. And, unlike with the Spectrum and QL computers, over-ordering of which on a sale-or-return basis led to the cash flow problems that prompted the Amstrad deal, Sir Clive has refused to take refutable oders for the Z88. Thorn was making 200 Z88s a day and SCI will start at 400 a day. At least for this year, marketing efforts will be concentrated in the UK, but a US launch is planned for Comdex in November with a view to volume deliveries in 1988, and talks have started with overseas distributors. But increases in the price of Supertwist LCD displays from Japan mean the Z88 will be UKP287.50 including VAT – for 32Kb Z80 CMOS CPU expandable to 3Mb, 106 by 8 line windowed LCD, integrated spreadsheet, word processor and calculator, RS232 and three cartridge ports – not the UKP229 announced in February.

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